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Taliban seize 2 towns, police fleeKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban militants have seized two towns in tumultuous southern Afghanistan, forcing police and government officials to flee, officials said Monday.
The Taliban operate freely in large areas of southern Afghanistan and police presence there often is virtually nonexistent, but insurgents only were known to have completely seized one town since their hard-line regime was toppled by U.S. forces in 2001.
Afghanistan: Vice and Virtue Department Could Return
A proposal to reestablish the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Afghanistan raises serious concerns about potential abuse of the rights of women and vulnerable groups, Human Rights Watch said today. President Hamid Karzai's cabinet has approved the proposal to reestablish the department, and it will go to Afghanistan's parliament when it reconvenes later this summer. It is not clear what the department's enforcement power would be. Nematullah Shahrani, the minister of Haj and religious affairs, who would oversee the department, has stated that it would focus on alcohol, drugs, crime and corruption. Afghanistan's criminal laws already address these issues.